Matthew Whitaker: acting attorney general said judges should be Christian
Matthew Whitaker: acting attorney general said judges should be Christian

Matthew Whitaker: acting attorney general said judges should be Christian

The Guardian
November 9, 2018


Donald Trump's new attorney general once said that judges should be Christian and proposed blocking non-religious people from judicial appointments.

Matthew Whitaker, who was made acting attorney general on Wednesday after Trump fired Jeff Sessions, said judges needed a "biblical view of justice" and questioned the judgment of secular lawyers.

Whitaker made the remarks at a conservative forum in April 2014, where he appeared as a candidate for the Republican US Senate nomination in Iowa. Video clips of the event were saved by People For the American Way, a liberal campaign group.

The Republican candidates were asked what justification they would use to block the confirmation of federal judges nominated by Barack Obama, who was then US president.

Whitaker said he wanted to know about a judge's judicial philosophy, along with their views on natural law, natural rights and the US founding documents. But he added: "I don't think that gets us far enough."

"Because natural law is often used from the eye of the beholder, if you will," Whitaker said. "I'd like to see things like their world view. What informs them? How have they lived their life? Are they people of faith? Do they have a biblical view of justice? Which I think is very important."

The event moderator, conservative blogger Erick Erickson, asked Whitaker whether he required a "Levitical or New Testament" view of justice. Whitaker opted for the New Testament.

Whitaker went on: "What I know is that as long as they have that worldview, that they'll be a good judge. And if they have a secular worldview, that 'this is all we have here on Earth', then I'm going to be very concerned about how they judge."

The Republican nomination was eventually won by Joni Ernst, who went on to become the junior US senator for Iowa.

Whitaker, a 49-year-old former lawyer and prosecutor, was Sessions's chief of staff before being elevated to the position of acting attorney general. Trump said on Wednesday that he intended to nominate a permanent replacement for Sessions later.

Democrats have urged Whitaker to recuse himself from the Russia investigation being led by the special counsel Robert Mueller because of public criticisms of Mueller that Whitaker made before joining the justice department.

Whitaker was previously a [url=https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/07/matthew-whitaker-trump-attorney-general-us-firm]paid adviser]/url] to an invention-promotion company in Florida that was accused by the US government of running a multimillion-dollar scam. Court records show Whitaker sent a threatening email to one of the alleged scam's victims who tried to complain.


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